Baucus: I’ll Move Forward on Health Care Without Republicans if Necessary

Senate Finance Committee chariman Max Baucus (D-MT) told reporters today that he’s moving forward on his health care proposal with or without Republicans. He said that the trigger concept hasn’t really been discussed in his panel’s negotiation, and that he’s increasingly of the belief that a public option can not pass the Senate.

“I will move forward anyway,” Baucus said. “We have to move forward. I told Chuck Grassley that.”

Grassley is the Finance Committee’s ranking member, and the Republican leader on health care negotiations in the committee’s so-called “Gang of Six”

Baucus said the proposal he unveils next week will be similar to the draft he released yesterday, which mandates subsidized coverage and expands Medicaid, but only provides for the creation of private co-ops–not for a public option.

“It is similar to the proposal I issued on Sunday night. I think that is close to a measure that will pass both the committee and Senate,” Baucus said.

“I know that my Republican colleagues very much want to be part of this,” Baucus said.

Interestingly, Baucus noted that while triggers are on the lips of reporters and anonymous White House sources, it’s not something that’s been discussed much on the committee level.

“It is funny, I keep on reading about that trigger, but there have been no discussion about that,” he said.

But whether it’s triggers, or co-ops, he’s not optimistic about the prospects for a genuine public option. “I think frankly, with increasing conviction, that a public option can not pass the Senate.”